Disney - Succession Problems in the Magic Kingdom?

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : HROB079 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Case Length : 19 Pages
Period : 1984-2005
Pub. Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Not Available
Organization : The Walt Disney Company
Industry : Media and Entertainment
Countries : USA


This case highlights the succession problems in the Walt Disney Company (WDC). Eisner, the Chairman and CEO of WDC, was credited with having transformed Disney from a movie studio and theme park operator into a huge media conglomerate.

However many shareholders criticized Eisner for being responsible for the controversial exits of his deputies like Katzenberg and Ovitz, which involved huge multi million dollar settlements. Added to this since 2003, Eisner had fallen out with Roy E Disney. Eisner was criticized for poor governance, improper handling of WDCs business, and the failure to identify an able successor.

After Eisner was voted out as chairman in March 2004, the WDC board tried to find a successor. However after many months of scouting and intense media speculation about Eisner's successor, the WDC board ended up selecting Iger, Eisner's deputy to take over the reins from Eisner from October 1, 2005.


Importance of succession planning in large organizations

Impact of issues like corporate culture, leadership, and shareholder management with regard to succession planning


  Page No.
Introduction 1
The Walt Disney Era 2
WDC After the Disney Brothers 4
Eisner's Reign at Disney 5
The Issue of Succession 8
Impact of the Stalemate 10
The Final Choice 11
Exhibits 12


Succession planning, Walt Disney, Michael Eisner, Pixar Animation Studios, Steve Jobs, Human resource management, USA, Robert Iger, Roy Disney, Shareholder revolt, Comcast, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Michael Ovitz, Severance pay

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